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Sometimes I find myself waiting for inspiration. I don’t know what to write, what to say about what I’m preparing to write.  It’s almost as if my mind goes blank!  Where has my muse gone?

Now, I don’t believe in the term Writer’s Block.  For one thing, it’s not something that happens exclusively to writers. (Though writers may be more sensitive to it than some, we also carry effective tools for dealing with it.)  Secondly, I don’t like imagining it as something as solid as a block.  I’ve found it a lot more malleable.

The opposite of waiting is flow.  So the best way to get things flowing again is to stop waiting and move in a different direction.

Sitting and suffering when things are stuck isn’t going to get the crops to grow again.  You don’t have to wait for everyone else to act, for all conditions to be perfect.  In some very difficult cases, taking action toward therapy may be what’s needed.  There are stories of those who sought to take action through drugs or drink, with less than adequate results.  But most of us can just get off our duffs and do something about it.  There are plenty of simpler, more healthy things that will do the trick.  The means are open to anyone, too, whether writer or not.

The key is to find something else to occupy your mind for awhile. Very often a walk, preferably outside, can open the channels again.  Just changing rooms could spark a few things. Anything which changes your perspective, can free your mind from the illusion of the block.  Taking action primes the pump for creative ideas to flow.   I like using music, especially live music.  Moving to music always inspires me!  Some may prefer a bath or shower.  Julia Cameron says that creativity is a spiritual issue.  It’s not about ego.  Anything you can do to ease your mind, find a place of peace in the situation, will support your creativity for whatever is needed.

As writers, we can bust through by putting pen to paper or fingers to keys and writing.  Anything at all.  It matters not what.  The physical act of writing can open lots of pathways. You don’t even have to be a writer to do it.  It’s perfectly acceptable to write that you can’t think of anything to write (or what to do about something), that you have no clue where to even start. In a few sentences you may be saying something like, “Well, I could do this …” and before you know it, you’re writing!  (Or painting, or composing, or looking into going back to school.)  I always support writing it out.

The lesson is that waiting does nothing to help the situation and there are a whole slew of actions you can take which do help.   Kristen Moeller wrote in her intriguing book “Waiting for Jack” asking, What are you waiting for?  It’s a study of why it just doesn’t pay to wait.  How many wonderful things you miss!  How not waiting can put you somewhere you’d never imagined.

In many ways we’ve become ingrained in waiting. Waiting in line, waiting for others to show up or do something, waiting for our favorite show to come back with a new season.

It seems to me that waiting tightens.  It interferes with free movement.  One could say, quite dispassionately, that they are waiting for a bus.  But more often than not our waiting is accompanied by feelings of anxiety.  Will the bus be on time?  Will I get a seat . . . ?  And therein lies the culprit.

The bad feelings we get around waiting do Nothing to open the way for the line to move faster, your friend to show up sooner, or writing to come. In fact, I would say, energetically, the more angst you produce, the more constricted the flow, and the longer you have to wait.

The quickest way to get over waiting is to just do it, if you can. When you’re able to move again, the anxiety slips away.  If you can’t do it, see if there’s some place to release the negative feelings.

Acceptance of where you are and what’s going on can eliminate plenty. Very often the simple act of acknowledgment that words (money, solutions) are not coming jogs things loose.  If we can just stop waiting and take some kind of Action  ~ even mentally releasing the present moment to be what it is ~ we are surprised by how things get going again.

Waiting is a wonderful time to practice allowing.  You are welcome to change your mind, be proactive and say, I’m NOT waiting.  You’re empowered to do that, if you please.  But if you want to see the doctor, get your car fixed, get into the show, you are going to have to wait. That’s just the way it is.

So, I can sit (or stand) here and complain about it.  Keep checking the time, as if that will make the wait end.  I can fuss and be uncomfortable, thinking about all the other things I could be doing.

Or I can switch on the gratitude and enjoy the distant rumbling of the cars, the people around me, the quiet, the view out the window . . .   I can be grateful I have a chair to sit in and pen and paper to keep me company.  I can be glad I have a phone so I can let someone know who might be waiting for me.  I’m breathing.  I’m alive.  And before I know it, I’ll be off doing something else!

Sometimes breathing may be all you can do. But you can do that.  Be aware of your breath. That will slow down the antsies when you are deep in anxious mode.

I’m glad it’s a sunny day and I’m feeling well. It’s great to know my car is getting fixed and will be running so much better!  I’m glad to have water to drink and the money to pay for this repair.  Won’t it be wonderful when I’m finally sprung!

Waiting and getting through it easily – or with a lot less resistance – is very good practice for allowing.  When you can accept that you’re waiting, you can allow the time to pass without fighting it, without squirming in it.

It’s an odd thing: I seem to have a limit to my waiting patience.  I can be patient for exactly so long and then it runs out. For awhile, it’s easy, letting time pass. But all of a sudden, at some point, I find myself questioning what’s going on, wondering if I will ever get out of here, checking my watch, over and over again, feeling my stress level build. It’s at these times, I realize I need to work on it. I start by reminding myself that this is my choice to sit here and wait.  I breathe and find a few things to be grateful for.  I turn my focus on what’s going on around me.  Then I can feel the stress leaving my body.   I’m just here.

Certainly, sitting in traffic is about waiting.  Anything that puts you in a position where you have to be still.  Even if you’d rather not.  That is the key.  Accepting that there are no other alternatives.  It’s sometimes easier to do in these more mundane situations.  Practicing on the smaller incidents in life can help you to accept things like a job change, partner leaving or disappointments of all kinds and intensities, even illness or death.

If you use your waiting time, any frustrating situation you find yourself in, you can practice being willing to go with it. Breathe through it and practice patience and allowing.  You may find a time when you will be glad you did.

Slowly making my way through Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now.”  Just reading it does something to me, puts me in the present moment, maybe.  But I always feel better after reading.  It also gets me thinking.

He was talking about waiting.  Or more accurately, not waiting.  He said that people who are present minded are never waiting.  They are just being.

Last Friday I left work early, unexpectedly.  I thought I might stop at my mechanic’s so he could listen to the odd sound the car was making.  I figured, 15 minutes, in and out, and was busy planning what else I could do with this found time.  Turned out it was the rear brakes.  And rather than go through the hassle of trying to figure another time to bring in the car, and with no particular place to go, I said, go for it.

So, I settled in with a couple books, some fresh paper and a pen and easily entertained myself for the 2 hours he promised it would take.  But two hours later, I watched 3:00 come and go and still the car was up on the lift.  I started to feel antsy and bored with what I was doing.  I became aware of how chilly it was in the waiting room and how stiff the chair.  I kept having visions of the next stop, where I could be warm and have a cup of tea . . . I was calm and easy before, now I was stressed, uncomfortable and having a hard time sitting still.

Why not try Eckhart Tolle’s method?  I felt myself sitting in the chair, here and now.  I allowed myself to accept the fact that I was there and until they finished the job, I wasn’t going anywhere.  I let go of thoughts of the next stop and focused on where I was.  I consciously felt my muscles relax and sink into the chair.  Almost as soon as I did that the anxious waiting feeling disappeared and I even felt a little warmer.  The rest of the time passed quickly and I was in a good mood when it was time to pay the bill.  The mechanic thanked me for waiting, but I didn’t feel like that at all!

Now, Mr. Tolle is clear to say that there is small scale waiting, like this one, and there is large scale waiting like waiting for a new job, mate or home.  I don’t know if I could be as successful with that kind of waiting, but if I practice on these small ones, it might be a lot easier to wait for the big things.

I tend to get caught up in waiting on others.  I need this one to do something before I can continue what I’m doing.  If another does his part, then I will know how to proceed.  I hope this person will be able to help me.  If she’ll let me, I’d like to do that for her.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t move until others take action.

I’m coming to see that I could wait forever.  At some point, I have to let go and allow life to move as it will.  And take my steps with or without the others’ input.  I will, eventually, move the person by my action.  If I don’t do it, it may be possible that no one ever will. 

They say that it’s better to take action and be wrong (love and lose) than not to take action at all (not love at all).  Some of my deepest regrets are surely the times I didn’t do something, actions I didn’t take.

I think it requires some surrender and trust that everything will be fine.  Life may not hand out guarantees on that, though. But I know that whatever I’m pursuing will have a much better chance of being fine if I have faith and move ahead anyway.


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